“Sometimes you find your destiny on the road you took to avoid it.” – Clive Owen
Like with any genre there are the cliché entries. Uncharted inspired by Indiana Jones, Fool’s Gold and Sahara haphazardly pieced together from a hundred different adventure movies. The Mummy, Jungle Cruise, Romancing the Stone, I could go on. And of course just by looking at the few I listed, some entries are stronger than others.
I think the key aspect that separates rip-off from homage is the ability to pay tribute to those that inspired the newer adventures while finding a new voice all its own. It means to circumvent expectations without sacrificing quality for the sake of blindly changing for fear of being just like the rest. It is, like most storytelling, a high wire balancing act with little room for error. I think fun movies like the newer Jumanji movies and Jungle Cruise are great examples of not trying to reinvent the wheel that is adventure films but managing memorable characters, a decent enough reason behind each distinct adventure and like I said, finding that one thing that makes it stand out, in a good way hopefully.
The Lost City is the kind of movie, if I had to guess, that will be lost among the plethora of movies just like it. By no means does that mean this isn’t a good movie, in fact I quite enjoyed it. Aside from simply being funny and occasionally heart warming, it’s just another run-of-the-mill comedy adventure featuring characters in a fish out of water situation. You’ve seen this movie before and if you need to kill two hours there are worse ways to spend your time.
Taking away the cast and focusing just on the story and the basic outline of characters, you have the megalomaniac seeking untold riches (despite already being ludicrously wealthy), the main protagonists who are often unwilling but ultimately the only ones that can do – insert task here – and of course eventually realize their destiny as heroes. There’s a love angle between the unlikely pair. So different from one another they learn on their journey they are more alike than they could have ever imagined. The villain is power hungry and willing to sacrifice anything and everyone to locate whatever random artifact he or she is seeking. It’s a boring concept for the sole reason that it’s all been regurgitated countless times before. What makes this even remotely worthwhile is the cast and the chemistry on display making the mundane something to genuinely laugh at, in a good way I mean.
Sandra Bullock is as confident in her silly clumsiness as she’s ever been. Together with the physical comedy prowess of Channing Tatum, they create a fierce comedic team commanding laughter from beginning to end, however predictable an end it may be. She is believable in her vulnerable moments, as a woman not exactly in her youth still trying to find what makes her happy.
So often we can find ourselves down a path that everyone around you sees as viable and worthy of your time. It can be a path that secures you financially, like Bullock’s character as a successful romance novelist but as she sees her own books, it’s a career as vapid and unappealing as her more seductive moments in the novels she no longer finds fulfillment from. Sometimes, as she discovers, it’s the path you never anticipated that will unveil your truest self. But of course as she’s discovering herself she’s wearing a purple disco ball-like suit definitely not suited for the harsh environment of a jungle filled with villains. She’s loud enough for a plane flying overhead to hear her and her survival skills are, well, wanting, to put it mildly. She is a walking pratfall not meant for what she’s gotten neck deep into. A fish out of water firmly in an ocean of quicksand and absurdity. And then there’s her… hero?
The model that graces all of her romance novels is nothing more than a pretty face and a chiseled body meant to sell the idea of sex and adventure to the women (and men) seeking a little escape. It would appear his head is as empty as everyone gives him credit for. As she falls into the hands of a tiny man, angry and well-financed, the cover model aims to prove his worth as more than just the physical inspiration for the hero of her novels, but the hero of her dreams, willing and able to face any foe standing between her and his warm embrace. Make no mistake, this will not go well. Channing Tatum as the horribly inept wannabe hero is comedy gold. It’s a tried and true method to take the normally heroic actor and make them lacking in every way that might make him a hero to save the day, defeat the villain and win the girl. They are together a laugh riot and without question elevate this otherwise forgettable flick into something a little more memorable, if not unfortunately still lacking in areas keeping it from being a potential classic.
The Lost City is a fun time at the movie theaters. A little fun these days is a much welcomed escape from reality. It has amusing characters, an entertaining performance from Daniel Radcliffe as the generic but larger-than-life bad guy, and wonderful chemistry from its main leads. It will however, much like the titular city, be lost by the end of the year. Funny but forgettable. A Romancing the Stone knock-off in the modern age.
P.S. Go for Bullock and Tatum, stay for Pitt. His small role is hilariously brilliant and a definite highlight.
Rated PG-13 For: violence and some bloody images, suggestive material, partial nudity and language
Runtime: 112 minutes
After Credits Scene: Mid-Credits.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe
Directed By: Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 6.5/ Acting: 8/ Directing: 8/ Visuals: 7
OVERALL: 7 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes.
Check out the trailer below:
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